Expert Meeting on Promoting Integrity in the Criminal Justice Chain

Sep 4, 2015

Honorable Chief Justices,

Representatives from government, civil society, academia and development partners,

On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme in Malaysia, let me warmly welcome you to the Expert Meeting on Promoting Integrity in the Criminal Justice Chain.

I would like to specifically congratulate the organizers – UNDP, the U4 Anti-corruption Centre and GIZ - for bringing such a distinguished group of experts together.

We have come together today to discuss a globally sensitive topic – when those who are supposed to be the guardians of the law, are themselves corrupt.

Public institutions entrusted to protect people, namely the police and the judiciary, are seen as most prone to bribery by the public, according to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer[1].

The Asia Pacific experience[2], as noted in the 2008 UNDP Asia Pacific Human Development Report titled, “Tackling Corruption and Transforming Lives”, has shown that corruption risks, whether perceived or actual, persist in relation to key decisions of various actors in the criminal justice chain - e.g. from the police discretion in registering cases, collecting and presenting evidence, prosecution decisions, court officials’ authority to set trial dates and times, to the issuance of verdicts by judges.

Over the course of today’s meeting, we look to benefit from your perspectives on how to more effectively address corruption throughout the criminal justice chain. In particular, we would like to discuss together approaches, tools and methodologies on how to develop more integrated reforms and programs that can address corruption in the criminal justice chain.

Joining us in this meeting are senior representatives from the judiciary, non-governmental organisations such as Transparency International, Integrity Watch and the World Justice Project, academics, colleagues from UNDP and UNODC, as well as development partners, including the U4 Anti-corruption Centre and GIZ.

From UNDP’s standpoint, this agenda is critical. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has stressed that, “Corruption undermines democracy and the rule of law. It leads to violations of human rights. It erodes public trust in government. It can even kill - for example, when corrupt officials [allow medicines to be tampered with, or when they] accept bribes that enable terrorist acts to take place.”

Corruption in the criminal justice chain has a key impact on access to justice for the poor:

·        Not only do powerful criminals escape sanctions, but ordinary citizens, particularly the poor, face bias and discrimination when reporting to the police or accessing justice.

·        Another impact is increasing inequalities and the fueling of poverty. For example, TI Bangladesh found in a 2005 household survey that two thirds of respondents who had used lower level courts paid average bribes of around $108 per case – about a quarter of the average annual income.

The recent debate around the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 16 also highlights that “respect for the rule of law and effective and accountable institutions are fundamental requirements for the achievement of sustainable development”.

This leads us to the question of gaps.

There are a number of international standards that promote integrity in the criminal justice sector, such as the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials[3] as well as the 2002 Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct. However, relying on self-guiding principles is not sufficient.

Measures such as the adoption of codes of conduct for law enforcement officials must be matched by initiatives to effectively institutionalize these standards and change the behavior of the institutional actors, as well as to ensure judicial accountability.

To guide criminal justice reforms, a number of tools have been developed by partners such as UNODC, Transparency International and GIZ.

However, the recent review of country-level experiences by UNDP during the call for information shows that these tools:

1.     Do not specifically target corruption as part of criminal justice reforms; and

2.     Are used to carry out ad-hoc assessments – this often leads to assessment findings not being used to inform government reforms and/or programs from development partners.

In addition, a recent study of the U4 Anti-corruption Centre has shown the limitations of addressing corruption only within the courts, calling for more integrated approaches and tools for the entire criminal justice chain.

There is a lot more to do, as individual countries, and collectively at the regional and global levels.

Recognizing these gaps, UNDP in cooperation with the U4 Anti-corruption Centre and GIZ, have taken the initiative to bring all of you, experts in the field, together today.   Today’s meeting is an opportunity to continue the discussions that were initiated during the panel yesterday at the IACC to:

  1. Take stock of the lessons learned from anti-corruption programming in the justice sector, building on the case studies submitted during the UNDP call for information;
  2. Highlight existing gaps in tools and methodologies for identifying and mitigating corruption risks in the criminal justice chain;
  3. Initiate a dialogue on the potential for an integrated approach for addressing corruption in the justice sector.

Our discussions will lead to the development of a position paper that:

·        Draws lessons for programming in countries based on the review of country experiences;

·        Identifies entry points for developing more integrated tools and programmes that address corruption in the criminal justice chain;

·        Makes recommendations on how to ensure that these tools are more effectively used – e.g. how civil society can monitor progress in the justice sector, and how to ensure that the results from judicial assessments are fed into national reform programs.

It is indeed a tall task to achieve in a day, but I am certain the discussions, viewpoints, suggestions, and recommendations will support the event organisers and all participants to move yet another step forward in addressing this extremely critical and complex set of issues.

I thank you once again for your participation and wish us a productive and lively discussion.

[1] A the global level 31% of the people report having paid bribes to the police, and 24% to the judiciary (see 2013 Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer).

[2] 2008 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report, ‘Tackling Corruption and Transforming Lives: Accelerating Human Development in Asia-Pacific’

[3] Adopted by the General Assembly in its Resolution 34/169.


Expert Meeting on Promoting Integrity in the Criminal Justice Chain

Sep 4, 2015

Honorable Chief Justices,

Representatives from government, civil society, academia and development partners,

On behalf of the United Nations Development Programme in Malaysia, let me warmly welcome you to the Expert Meeting on Promoting Integrity in the Criminal Justice Chain.

I would like to specifically congratulate the organizers – UNDP, the U4 Anti-corruption Centre and GIZ - for bringing such a distinguished group of experts together.

We have come together today to discuss a globally sensitive topic – when those who are supposed to be the guardians of the law, are themselves corrupt.

Public institutions entrusted to protect people, namely the police and the judiciary, are seen as most prone to bribery by the public, according to Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer[1].

The Asia Pacific experience[2], as noted in the 2008 UNDP Asia Pacific Human Development Report titled, “Tackling Corruption and Transforming Lives”, has shown that corruption risks, whether perceived or actual, persist in relation to key decisions of various actors in the criminal justice chain - e.g. from the police discretion in registering cases, collecting and presenting evidence, prosecution decisions, court officials’ authority to set trial dates and times, to the issuance of verdicts by judges.

Over the course of today’s meeting, we look to benefit from your perspectives on how to more effectively address corruption throughout the criminal justice chain. In particular, we would like to discuss together approaches, tools and methodologies on how to develop more integrated reforms and programs that can address corruption in the criminal justice chain.

Joining us in this meeting are senior representatives from the judiciary, non-governmental organisations such as Transparency International, Integrity Watch and the World Justice Project, academics, colleagues from UNDP and UNODC, as well as development partners, including the U4 Anti-corruption Centre and GIZ.

From UNDP’s standpoint, this agenda is critical. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has stressed that, “Corruption undermines democracy and the rule of law. It leads to violations of human rights. It erodes public trust in government. It can even kill - for example, when corrupt officials [allow medicines to be tampered with, or when they] accept bribes that enable terrorist acts to take place.”

Corruption in the criminal justice chain has a key impact on access to justice for the poor:

·        Not only do powerful criminals escape sanctions, but ordinary citizens, particularly the poor, face bias and discrimination when reporting to the police or accessing justice.

·        Another impact is increasing inequalities and the fueling of poverty. For example, TI Bangladesh found in a 2005 household survey that two thirds of respondents who had used lower level courts paid average bribes of around $108 per case – about a quarter of the average annual income.

The recent debate around the proposed Sustainable Development Goal 16 also highlights that “respect for the rule of law and effective and accountable institutions are fundamental requirements for the achievement of sustainable development”.

This leads us to the question of gaps.

There are a number of international standards that promote integrity in the criminal justice sector, such as the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials[3] as well as the 2002 Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct. However, relying on self-guiding principles is not sufficient.

Measures such as the adoption of codes of conduct for law enforcement officials must be matched by initiatives to effectively institutionalize these standards and change the behavior of the institutional actors, as well as to ensure judicial accountability.

To guide criminal justice reforms, a number of tools have been developed by partners such as UNODC, Transparency International and GIZ.

However, the recent review of country-level experiences by UNDP during the call for information shows that these tools:

1.     Do not specifically target corruption as part of criminal justice reforms; and

2.     Are used to carry out ad-hoc assessments – this often leads to assessment findings not being used to inform government reforms and/or programs from development partners.

In addition, a recent study of the U4 Anti-corruption Centre has shown the limitations of addressing corruption only within the courts, calling for more integrated approaches and tools for the entire criminal justice chain.

There is a lot more to do, as individual countries, and collectively at the regional and global levels.

Recognizing these gaps, UNDP in cooperation with the U4 Anti-corruption Centre and GIZ, have taken the initiative to bring all of you, experts in the field, together today.   Today’s meeting is an opportunity to continue the discussions that were initiated during the panel yesterday at the IACC to:

  1. Take stock of the lessons learned from anti-corruption programming in the justice sector, building on the case studies submitted during the UNDP call for information;
  2. Highlight existing gaps in tools and methodologies for identifying and mitigating corruption risks in the criminal justice chain;
  3. Initiate a dialogue on the potential for an integrated approach for addressing corruption in the justice sector.

Our discussions will lead to the development of a position paper that:

·        Draws lessons for programming in countries based on the review of country experiences;

·        Identifies entry points for developing more integrated tools and programmes that address corruption in the criminal justice chain;

·        Makes recommendations on how to ensure that these tools are more effectively used – e.g. how civil society can monitor progress in the justice sector, and how to ensure that the results from judicial assessments are fed into national reform programs.

It is indeed a tall task to achieve in a day, but I am certain the discussions, viewpoints, suggestions, and recommendations will support the event organisers and all participants to move yet another step forward in addressing this extremely critical and complex set of issues.

I thank you once again for your participation and wish us a productive and lively discussion.

[1] A the global level 31% of the people report having paid bribes to the police, and 24% to the judiciary (see 2013 Transparency International Global Corruption Barometer).

[2] 2008 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report, ‘Tackling Corruption and Transforming Lives: Accelerating Human Development in Asia-Pacific’

[3] Adopted by the General Assembly in its Resolution 34/169.


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